book review

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Book Review – Garage Sale Stalker – Suzi Weinert

Published 07/09/2013 by julierkendrick

garage

I started this book expecting a cosy crime however this story was far from it. The main character Jennifer turned out to be a gritty determined older woman who is kidnapped by a serial killer and has to try to escape before his uses for her run out.

The author tells the story from Jennifer’s perspective but also of Ruger the killer as the book is as much about how be became that way as about the crime itself.
Although I was rooting for Jennifer and her family, I also felt sorry for Ruger (and his dog) which made for a nice confliction in my reading experience here.
This book was going to have a 5 star review but for two small things. Firstly, the sappy ending had me rolling my eyes a little but mainly it’s the title of the book. It doesn’t do it any justice and completely detracts from the actual style of the book.
However the writing was great and pulled me in, exciting me and keeping me reading late into the night. I look forward to reading more from this author.
4/5 Stars
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Book Review – Three Wishes – Juli Alexander

Published 10/08/2013 by julierkendrick

3 wishesFor 2/3 of this book I was planning on giving it 4 stars, however when we hit the last third all of the things that had bothered me in the first part now became worse and by the time I had finished it had lost 2 stars.

So what was wrong?
Well the genie concept was interesting but strangely enough this was never really explored. Alexander didn’t ever explain how the genies grant wishes or how they managed to get from one place to another without arousing suspicion when they teleported. It was never explained what would happen if people were told that genies exist; it wasn’t detailed how much time passes in the real world when genies are called to do their duty and how do they explain their absences to the real world.
It felt to me that whenever Alexander needed to move the plot forward, details would get overlooked. Like, how did the suspect actually find out they were on to him/her (I don’t want to give it away so I won’t go into details). It came to the point where the penny was just dropping for some of the characters and then boom it was all over bar the shouting. The reason for the set up was also never explained in full so I ended up pretty confused by it all.
Another thing that did really irritate me was the relationships between the main family members. The protagonist, Jen is 17 in the book but her parents spoke to her and treated her like she was about 10, telling her she had to be in by 7.30pm and getting involved in brother/sister squabbles like they were life or death arguments. The mother was unnecessarily cagey about her work but again it seemed that the author used that caginess to gloss over plot points that hadn’t been fully planned out before the actual writing commenced.
I can imagine that you are wondering if I actually liked anything in the book.. yes i did. I like the easy style of writing that Ms Alexander has. The story gets going straight away and pulls you along with it. I do think that the genie aspect was such a promising avenue to explore and with a little more planning the story could have really taken off.
Juli Alexander is by no means a bad writer and I certainly wouldn’t judge her by this piece of work alone.
~This work has also been known under the title Karma Beat~
2/5

Book Review – Unseen – Karin Slaughter

Published 30/07/2013 by julierkendrick

unseenThis is not the first book in the series and it was evident right from the start. The book presumes that you already know the characters, which you would do if you had read what goes before, but if not then it is a difficult book to follow.

When I have read series before and inadvertently started on the second or third book I have found that I can quite easily pick it up as the author will gently recap some of the salient issues. However Slaughter didn’t do that so I was making up my own back-story as I read. The trouble with this was that I didn’t really get to know the characters and therefore didn’t care what happened to them.
I never really got into the book so after about 70 pages I gave up and didn’t finish.
1/5

The Cemetery Girl – Book Review

Published 27/01/2013 by julierkendrick

I have just finished reading The Cemetery Girl by David Bell and while it is fresh in my mind thought I’d write a quick review of it.

cemetery girl

Briefly the story is about a 12 year old girl who goes missing, believed kidnapped and how the family cope with that over the four years that she is gone and then how they cope when she finally returns, not saying anything about where she has been.

When I read the synopsis I thought that sounded like a promising story, and indeed it was. For the first half of the book. Bell tells the story from the father’s point of view in the first person and initially manages to capture his bewilderment and the constant questioning of himself that we would all do if, God forbid, this happened to any of us. However, once Caitlin, the daughter, returns the pace slows down so much that I found myself willing the characters into conflict. There was quite a bit of pointless dialogue where nothing further was gained and conversations were also repeated, albeit in a slightly different way.

My main problem with this book however was the development, or lack thereof, of the relationships throughout the book.  The whole novel is based around Tom’s relationship with his family and those who try to help during the transition from Caitlin’s disappearance to her subsequent return and integration back into the family.  It is obvious that he doesn’t agree with his wife or her way of coping but that is never fully explored. Abby, the wife, displays some fairly odd behaviour but we never really find out why. Tom’s relationship with his brother, Buster also leaves a lot to be desired descriptively speaking. Tom accuses him of being the kidnapper on more than one occasion and even asks if he slept with Caitlin. Buster, however doesn’t appear to react to these accusations in any way that I believe a reasonable person would.  He still comes round to chat to Caitlin, and Tom and Abby seem quite happy for this to happen. Then in the next chapter Tom and Buster, are together again discussing possible scenarios for what may have happened, before Tom accuses him again of some nefarious act.

Lastly, although I am trying not to give any plot spoilers, we never actually find out completely what happened to Caitlin, or why she behaves the way she does. It was as if Bell got bored of the story and decided to leave us in suspense. The majority of the text was leading up to getting Caitlin to talk and building the tension but the climax never materialised and left me very disappointed as a reader.

What started out as a great story with a very promising plot, fell flat and did not deliver what Bell set out to do, give us a great story about relationships under extreme circumstances. Maybe this was because the characters themselves were underdeveloped. I don’t know but I won’t be in any hurry to buy his next book.

5/10.

 

 

The Boy in a Suitcase – Book Review

Published 05/12/2012 by julierkendrick

Product Details

 

I read this book as part of a review group and thought you may be interested to see my review of it.

The title and first page were certainly intriguing. The rest of the book, however did not deliver.

So many characters, which are introduced in the first 4 chapters have Eastern European names which are very hard to read. Coupled with the fact that there are no clues as to how they link up for a long time, the book is hard going.

Nina Borg finds a three year old boy in a suitcase. Not until the very end of the book do we find out why he is there. This would be OK but for the fact that Nina makes the most irrational decisions for no apparent reason. The boy and Nina do not speak the same language but nowhere does it state that she tries to talk to him. There is next to nothing written about the boy other than he is taken from place to place by Nina and just sits there quietly. This is not true of any 3 year old I ever knew. If he was scared, upset, shy or angry some kind of behaviour would have been displayed, challenges for Nina to overcome, but it seems that the boy was a vehicle for the story to progress. He was the least fleshed out character in the book.

The boy’s mother Sigita was a more sympathetic character but even she made some silly unexplained decisions.

I found it unrealistic. Nina was irritating and weak, not someone I imagine many women would identify with. She has a husband and two children that she regularly leaves without saying a word yet we are expected to believe that she is compassionate towards this small child and his mother.

This is the first in a series of three books featuring Nina Borg. I will not be reading the others.

I give this book 4/10

 

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think, do you agree with me?